Friday, December 25, 2009

Great Green Soup

Christmas day dawned dark and wet. While it wasn't particularly cold in Orlando, the gray sky and pouring rain made one think it was certainly soup weather.
In keeping with the plan to include more greens in my diet, not just green juices and green smoothies, it seemed a perfect morning to pop on a pot of this great green soup.
While recently browsing through the Real Food Daily cookbook, I was taken with the simple directions for a creamy broccoli soup. The magic result obtained from using a few simple fresh vegetables along with some homemade veggie broth always amazes me.
This soup is a marvelous example of the depth of flavor that develops when broccoli, onion and celery are simmered in a simple veggie broth, with a couple of cups of spinach added at the end of cooking, before the whole pot is pureed with an immersion blender. Check out the instructions that include a nifty roasted red pepper crème. That finishing touch elevates this humble soup from a simple sounding peasant meal to an epicurean delight.
As I was making this soup for one and while I do like leftovers, especially soup, I cut the recipe in half and still ended up with a big pot full of marvelously flavored green soup.
You don't have to be a vegetarian to enjoy Ann Gentry's instructive, enlightening and entertaining volume. And if you're in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills or West Hollywood, don't miss the treat of eating at a Real Food Daily restaurant.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

When Life Gives You Lemons????
In this case, 'life', was my friend, Helen. These marvelous Florida lemons came straight from the tree, free of dyes, wax, fertilizer or pesticides.
Notice, they come in various shapes and sizes, some needing more scrubbing than others. But each is sweet (for a lemon) and filled with juice. I look forward to receiving a supply each year. I love to make lemonade - preferably 'soda lemonade'. A combination of freshly squeezed juice, a bit of sweetener, lots of ice, topped off with a generous pour of seltzer water. Holiday fare!
Another quick food tip: Squeeze the lemons and freeze in ice cube trays. The sections in my trays hold a generous tablespoon full. When the cubes are solid, I move them to a zip lock bag and they sit ready at a moment's notice to supply that TBS of lemon juice that so many live food recipes call for.

For the cook — a couple of cubes, reduced down in a hot sauté pan with a dab of spicy mustard, becomes a lively sauce, adding a nice finishing touch to a chicken breast, fillet of fish or better yet, steamed vegetables.
Stock up while citrus is in season - limes and oranges are great to juice and freeze as well.
Lemon juice is a wonderful salad topper - the dieter's salvation - but beyond that - an epicure's secret ingredient to producing a fabulous finishing touch.